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View Full Version : DM Help What to do with a player who has a prolematic character



Dragonkingofth
2018-07-04, 04:49 AM
So yesterday I ran the "A Shock at Evenfeast" module, so a quick pick up AL game, and one of the players was roleplaying his intl 8 character, a Goliath I think, as . . . .Oh, how can I put this?

Some where between "Mentally Challenged?" and "Heavily autistic." though he used the term "Special".

Now I can't say this felt totally right to me, felt a little wrong in my gut if that makes sense. Now the typical response would be 'talk to the player' but by the time I found out about the character the game was already rolling, It was adventures league public game, and the player was not a terrible person and I seemed to be the only one, off kilter, and I admit it was not by much.

So what should I, if anything have done? Going forward yes:Talk to him if he shows up, but in the moment what should the correct course of action have been? Stop the game (and we were on a TIGHT time budget since our LGS has a 'main event game' after the lower level learn to plays which is what I was doing so only about an hour to do a game with five people I think) and express my issue? or just grin and bear it, which is what I did? And what If I was a player?

Nifft
2018-07-04, 04:59 AM
1 - Was that RP behavior disruptive?

2 - Was it offensive?

What you're describing might just be bad acting, which is to say it might have been in good faith but kinda painful to watch.

Or it might be rude & anti-social.

Devil's in the details, and we've got very few. So... you've described the undesirable behavior, now can you talk about the issues that the behavior caused?

Dragonkingofth
2018-07-04, 05:18 AM
1 - Was that RP behavior disruptive?

2 - Was it offensive?

What you're describing might just be bad acting, which is to say it might have been in good faith but kinda painful to watch.

Or it might be rude & anti-social.

Devil's in the details, and we've got very few. So... you've described the undesirable behavior, now can you talk about the issues that the behavior caused?

Well none, except as far as I could tell made me vaguely uncomfortable, which is the problem. if it was clear that there was an issue then: bam "hay your being ablest, we find your character in bad faith, and it's making us uncomfortable knock it off." then that's easy. But for all I know I was the only one who found the character . . . distinctly unpleasant and a bit uncomfortable, but not to the degree I imagine a racial caricature would be to that demographic.

it certainly did not help, and maybe this is the context you need, that the main event group? That one I mentioned as being after the learn to play? I don't DM that one, the first game is a learn to play for me as well as the player, but I do Play in that game. One of the other players in that group who shows up like clock work, is an adult and he bring's his heavily disabled son to the gaming table. As in so disabled physically and mentally he plays while holding him and has to feed him by hand. Presumable he can't really be left alone: hence why they both show up. Maybe I should have said that in the first post but it did not feel quite like a detail that belonged since It strictly speaking had nothing to do wtih the player, the character or me, but there you go.

So ya, on those days, My brain is farmore sensitive to those kind of characters and depictions of being 'special' then on a normal day and that on top of my nature is what set's me a wee bit off kilter.

LeMooseImperium
2018-07-04, 09:38 AM
Well none, except as far as I could tell made me vaguely uncomfortable, which is the problem. if it was clear that there was an issue then: bam "hay your being ablest, we find your character in bad faith, and it's making us uncomfortable knock it off." then that's easy. But for all I know I was the only one who found the character . . . distinctly unpleasant and a bit uncomfortable, but not to the degree I imagine a racial caricature would be to that demographic.

it certainly did not help, and maybe this is the context you need, that the main event group? That one I mentioned as being after the learn to play? I don't DM that one, the first game is a learn to play for me as well as the player, but I do Play in that game. One of the other players in that group who shows up like clock work, is an adult and he bring's his heavily disabled son to the gaming table. As in so disabled physically and mentally he plays while holding him and has to feed him by hand. Presumable he can't really be left alone: hence why they both show up. Maybe I should have said that in the first post but it did not feel quite like a detail that belonged since It strictly speaking had nothing to do wtih the player, the character or me, but there you go.

So ya, on those days, My brain is farmore sensitive to those kind of characters and depictions of being 'special' then on a normal day and that on top of my nature is what set's me a wee bit off kilter.

Ok. If you still have any issues with it, just remark that INT 8 doesn't mean you are stupid or act much differently than anyone else, just that you have less book learning.

If he keeps acting offensively, subtly throw the characters into a boss fight a little early and have the boss target him.

If the party then raises him and he's still acting offensively, talk to him about it. He might not even see himself as acting offensively.

Better yet, talk to the parent of the disabled child and see if they have any issues with it. If they don't, you might not need to take action.

Mr Beer
2018-07-04, 11:51 PM
"Hey man, would you please knock off the 'Doi I'm SPECIAL!!! :trips over his tongue:'-stuff, I run games with and for disabled people so it pushes my buttons."

90% of people will apologise on the spot and not do it again, you say we're all cool and then you move on with the game.

The other 10% are going to be a problem but then better to find out now who won't comply with a polite and reasonable request.

EDIT

This is just about the easiest kind of game problem to solve really...not a game problem at all, someone annoying you unknowingly and if you just tell them to stop doing it, they almost certainly will.

WindStruck
2018-07-05, 01:19 AM
Well maybe you just need to have a little talk with him and have him RP the character a little differently? An int score of 8 doesn't exactly equal "mental disability" or "mental disorder".

Some ways he could pull the RP off is....

-being forgetful. Not remembering names of people or places, even some things. misplacing items occasionally. etc

-crude speech. Don't really want to make you uncomfortable, but are you ok with like.. how some orcs or kobolds have spoken in games where they have broken english? He should still speak pretty well in his native language though, I think.

-his character is gullible and generally believes fast talkers, if he doesn't have some reason to mistrust them.

-illiterate

-can't seem to reason or puzzle through things. IC, his character really doesn't contribute to the puzzle challenges you may have at all, but OOC his player can help the other players.

War_lord
2018-07-05, 02:07 AM
-being forgetful. Not remembering names of people or places, even some things. misplacing items occasionally. etc

-crude speech. Don't really want to make you uncomfortable, but are you ok with like.. how some orcs or kobolds have spoken in games where they have broken english? He should still speak pretty well in his native language though, I think.

-his character is gullible and generally believes fast talkers, if he doesn't have some reason to mistrust them.

-illiterate

-can't seem to reason or puzzle through things. IC, his character really doesn't contribute to the puzzle challenges you may have at all, but OOC his player can help the other players.

None of those things, except perhaps certain puzzles and remembering certain things, are linked to intelligence. Speech is linked to Charisma, gullibility is wisdom. Literacy is a learned skill, and most D&D worlds follow the expectation that all cultures teach it as commonly as real world modern schools. In western Europe at least, for a long time even many intelligent people were illiterate, because the ability to read and write was seen as a specialist skill for certain occupations.

I'm not targeting you specifically with this, because it seems to be a common enough bias, but intelligence being slightly below average does not equate to that character being a Lenny-esque caricature of intellectual disability. Most people with mild learning disabilities, or who are from cultures that don't place any importance on academics (two things that eight could represent) aren't distinguishable from the general population outside of either knowing them well or encountering them in situations that highlight their lack of ability in that area.

WindStruck
2018-07-05, 02:51 AM
None of those things, except perhaps certain puzzles and remembering certain things, are linked to intelligence. Speech is linked to Charisma, gullibility is wisdom.

Not necessarily. Charisma isn't merely "speech", but the way of speaking and expressing one's self. You can be boisterous, intimidating, or charming... and yet still not have particularly good grammar or a wide vocabulary. Or remember that you told someone the same story ten times already.

Wisdom and intelligence are also pretty similar, but intelligence definitely is capacity for learning, as described in the system, so someone with a low intelligence score may fall for the same tricks again and again. Intelligence is also supposed to represent a quick wit, so in a fast conversation, they may be fooled, but given enough time to think back on what happened, he may eventually realize he was duped.

Then again, all I'm really talking about is fluff and RP anyway, so the distinction between the two is just splitting hairs. Intelligence in real life isn't really broken down into the dnd stats, so if this is one way he can RP his character without making people uncomfortable, by all means he should just do it.



Literacy is a learned skill, and most D&D worlds follow the expectation that all cultures teach it as commonly as real world modern schools. In western Europe at least, for a long time even many intelligent people were illiterate, because the ability to read and write was seen as a specialist skill for certain occupations.
It's not that only stupid people are illiterate. Rather, it's the case that stupid people would have a far more difficult time learning to read and write. What is this character's background? Given the low intelligence, would it even have made sense for him to learn to read and write?


I'm not targeting you specifically with this, because it seems to be a common enough bias, but intelligence being slightly below average does not equate to that character being a Lenny-esque caricature of intellectual disability. Most people with mild learning disabilities, or who are from cultures that don't place any importance on academics (two things that eight could represent) aren't distinguishable from the general population outside of either knowing them well or encountering them in situations that highlight their lack of ability in that area.

And I really tried to emphasize in the very beginning of my first post, that lower intelligence does not equal "mental disability".

War_lord
2018-07-05, 03:21 AM
Intelligence is also supposed to represent a quick wit, so in a fast conversation, they may be fooled, but given enough time to think back on what happened, he may eventually realize he was duped.

Insight, which is literally the skill for seeing through lies, is tied to the wisdom stat. So this is just wrong.


It's not that only stupid people are illiterate. Rather, it's the case that stupid people would have a far more difficult time learning to read and write. What is this character's background? Given the low intelligence, would it even have made sense for him to learn to read and write?

Someone's actual intellectual ability has very little to do with whether they're "stupid", since calling someone "stupid" is a subjective judgement. Someone might be a brilliant academic with zero common sense, and thus be considered stupid in circles that don't value academic skills. Another person might be an excellent tradesperson yet be considered stupid in academic circles. Or someone might be considered stupid because they don't share the beliefs of the person calling them stupid. Most people aren't subjectively dumb to a remarkable degree. Most people, even those of below average intelligence and even those with learning difficulties that specifically make reading difficult, can learn to read and write to a functional degree. Probably not going to be reading anything complex, but more then functional for adventuring purposes.


And I really tried to emphasize in the very beginning of my first post, that lower intelligence does not equal "mental disability".

Yet you're throwing around the term "stupid" like that has any objective meaning at all.

Esprit15
2018-07-05, 03:36 AM
An 8 is only around one standard deviation from the mean human intelligence. Itís the higher end of borderline mental disability. For things like that, I tend to think of the kid in school who wasnít very good at tests. Theyíre not mentally disabled, they just donít have that information click like it does for other people. They may not recall things quickly, or use complicated verbiage, but they donít need to wear a helmet. Furthermore, with higher stats like wisdom, they can still be accutely aware of other aspects of the world. They may not know the value of a gem, but they know that the guy telling them itís just a worthless rock is swindling them.

DeTess
2018-07-05, 03:49 AM
"Hey man, would you please knock off the 'Doi I'm SPECIAL!!! :trips over his tongue:'-stuff, I run games with and for disabled people so it pushes my buttons."

90% of people will apologise on the spot and not do it again, you say we're all cool and then you move on with the game.

The other 10% are going to be a problem but then better to find out now who won't comply with a polite and reasonable request.

EDIT

This is just about the easiest kind of game problem to solve really...not a game problem at all, someone annoying you unknowingly and if you just tell them to stop doing it, they almost certainly will.

This guy's got it. Don't try to solve it using in-game measures, don't try to dance around the actual issue. Explain what you're having an issue with, explain why you're having an issue with it, and solve it.